Ms. Moskowitz, 34, was born in Coney Island Hospital, lives in Brooklyn, and is a typically impatient and opinionated New Yorker. She can’t stand how slowly most cooks peel garlic, makes relentless fun of Rachael Ray and rolls her eyes at the mention of California hippies.
But as a vegan and a follower of punk music since age 14, she is also part of a culinary movement that helped turn the chaotic energy of punk culture of the 1970s and 1980s into a progressive political force.
The implication here seems to be that it was not possible to question everything before, say 1977. How, say, Darwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Tom Paine or Margaret Sanger managed without a punk soundtrack telling them to question everything is tough to figure. The narrative gets even more dubious:
In the early days of punk, bands like the Sex Pistols were notorious for nihilism, anarchism and epic consumption of drugs and alcohol — none of which would seem to lead to tofu and chamomile tea. But as punk became more political (and as bands self-destructed) in the 1990s, many punks adopted a more profoundly rebellious stance: against drugs, against alcohol and against the whole habit of mindless consumption.
“It was about purifying the movement, about being poison-free,” said Ted Leo, of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, who led the band Chisel in the 1990s. He became vegetarian in 1988 and has been vegan since 1998. Many punks became vegetarian to protest corporate and government control of the food supply. Veganism takes vegetarianism farther into cruelty-free territory by avoiding anything produced by animals: milk, cheese, eggs, honey, etc.
I am a big Ted Leo fan, but to talk about straightedge asceticism as a stage in the evolution of punk is to construct a narrative that ignores the vast majoirty of that culture. It's like saying that the Protestant Reformation evolved into Pentecostal snakehandling. (I'll pass on the difficulties that are inevitable in even talking about "punk in the 1990s.")
As such, I'd argue there is nothing inherently or especially punk about being a vegan. It does not disqualify you, but it does not make you. As such, I take issue with this association of punk with Moskowitz' persona. It seems to be a question of tattoos and band t-shirts. And counterfactual statements: “Besides, eggs are the big lie in baking. All the books say they provide structure, but that’s kind of crap.” Radical! There might be workarounds for eggs in some contexts, but that does not mean that eggs do not do what eggs do. This is not punk as an ethos, but an aesthetic. As such, it has more to do with Hot Topic (the chain, not the song) and the Suicide Girls than it does with the Dead Kennedys or the Slits.
Beyond what Moskowitz has to say for herself, there are some real headthumpers in Moskin's text:
The charm of Ms. Moskowitz — in person, in her cookbooks and on her public-access television cooking show, the Post-Punk Kitchen (theppk.com/shows/) — is that she makes even the deprivations of veganism and the rage of punk seem like fun. Like feminism that embraces makeup and miniskirts — the frivolous bits — Ms. Moskowitz’s veganism embraces chocolate, white flour, confectioners’ sugar, and food coloring.
I've been back and forth on whether this is an insult to vegans or feminists, and I think I have to give the nod to feminists. Are makeup and miniskirts the frivolous bits of feminism? Does being a feminist, like being a vegan, involve various deprivations? I had been under the impression that the whole point of being a feminist was the idea that not being a feminist produced various deprivations. As the Grinder pointed out, it is nice to see a change from the too-frequent articles on how hard it it is to get someone to fix the Viking range in your country home, but if this is the best DI/DO can do with La Vie Boheme, then I hope they stay in the Hamptons.
Play us out, Poly: